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July 28, 2014

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Sonic carhops skating for the big prize

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Leila Navidi

Shannon Coleman of Deland, Florida, one of the judges of the So You Think You Can Skate freestyle finals, performs in a judges showcase, part of the 2011 Dr. Pepper SONIC Games held at a SONIC Drive-In on E. Lake Mead Parkway in Henderson Monday, September 12, 2011.

SONIC Games

Cory Patton of Greenwood, Louisiana performs his finale move, jumping over a pyramid stack of SONIC cups, during the So You Think You Can Skate freestyle finals, part of the 2011 Dr. Pepper SONIC Games held at a SONIC Drive-In on E. Lake Mead Parkway in Henderson Monday, September 12, 2011. Launch slideshow »

Six carhops from across the country strapped on roller skates and busted a move in the parking lot of a Henderson Sonic Drive-In on Monday morning as part of a national competition for the fast-food chain.

The skaters were competing in Sonic’s national “So You Think You Can Skate,” which drew entries from employees hoping to show off their skills and win a free trip to Las Vegas.

“The competition is designed to draw out the best skaters in the nation who skate for Sonic everyday. It gives them the opportunity to compete against each other, and it gives us an opportunity to recognize them,” said John Salama, Sonic Industries’ vice president for training.

The company has used carhops to deliver food to customers since is was founded in the 1950s, and the event was meant to celebrate that history, Salama said.

“Our founder found by putting his carhops on skates, they’re able to get to the cars faster. Customers love that excitement and that entertainment,” he said. “It brings a whole new level of execution and flair to the business … it’s our signature.”

More than 3,000 Sonic employees and franchisees are in Las Vegas this week for a national convention at Mandalay Bay.

Monday’s competition was divided into an obstacle course event and a freestyle skate-off.

During the obstacle course, skaters made their way through doors, under limbo sticks and around the drive-thru ramp.

The event featured a mix of style and technique, as skaters danced and did stunts.

“It’s fun, you feel like you’re in a whole other world,” 17-year-old Adrian Aguillon said. “It makes you feel alive.”

Aguillon started working at Sonic more than a year ago and was a runner-up in last year’s competition. The Salt Lake City native is also part of a competitive skate dance crew and has visited Las Vegas several times with that group. He said he’s excited to be back.

“I love skating the Strip,” he said.

Aguillon and the other competitors performed a variety of spins, hand stands, somersaults and handsprings set to music, mixing dance moves in between. Some even used props in their routines, including a ramp and several Sonic cups filled with ice.

“I came out here to show my skills,” Aguillon said before the event started. “I’m going to bring my break-dancing skills on my skates and maybe mix in some stunts.”

The winner of the competition will be announced today.

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